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DTG vs. Screen Printing

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In the previous decade, Screen printing was booming in the fashion industry. Still, now it seems like the DTG (Direct Garment) printing method has covered a whole audience in the fashion industry. DTG printing is also known as digital printing. No wonder the battle between DTG vs. screen printing is a long time going on from a couple of years, but people are still confused about the difference between DTG and screen printing or which is better, DTG or screen printing.

One common feature between both methods of printing method is that both methods are used to print custom designs over the fabrics, materials and wooden surfaces. Although the battle between these printing methods is not new, both have pros and cons. But the new brands and customers still find it a bit complicated to choose between.

Battle Between Printing: Unveiling the Pros & Cons Between Screen Printing and DTG Printing

battle B/w Screen and DTG

Whether you are new in the clothing industry, an experienced professional manufacturer, or a customer finding your answer about the best printing method, this blog is the right spot for you. To make the process and method selection process easier for you, we have written this blog on “DTG vs screen printing” to improve your knowledge. Planning and working on customer clothing is a hectic process sometimes, as there is much to consider. Everyone is curious about “screen printing vs. DTG”: how both of these processes compare and which method is best for printing, how long does screen printing last on shirts, whose print is better for durability, and more.

The quick answer 

Being a manufacturer, we can’t name any one method over another because both methods are used equally in the industry, and both printing methods have their target audience. Both of the printing methods come have their own advantages and disadvantages along with the customization options. Based on your specification and production plans, you can count on either printing method, but both methods are best in their own way. So, you can choose the best method based on your needs and other factors discussed in this blog.

Key Takeaways from This Blog

  • Screen printing involves the transferring of ink to clothing material. The process used a mesh and stencil to transfer the design over fabric or any other material.
  • In screen printing, a limited number of colors are available to print. Comparatively, digital printing allows you to print a more significant number of colors.
  • The DTG printing method is less complex than the screen printing process as it involves a digital printer to print the design over the fabric.
  • The DTG prints are more accurate, vibrant, high resolution and precise than the screen print. The DTG printer uses a digital file to transfer the design from the file to the fabric, such as a hoodie, T-shirt, shirt or sweatshirt.
  • The screen-printing method is more cost-effective if you want to print a large batch of clothes. For a smaller number of articles, it would cost much effort and time to set up the whole setup to screen print the design.
  • If you want to print photographic and visual-focused designs over the clothing line, then DTG printing is the right choice, as it requires less time and effort to set up and provide accurate results.
  • Moreover, DTG printing has no environmentally damaging factors attached to it, so it is an eco-friendly printing method.

 Also, read The Future of screen printing trends and innovations for custom t-shirt design.

The Common Question That Might Be in Your Mind

  • What is the difference between DTG and screen printing
  • What is DTG Printing?
  • What is Screen Printing?
  • What are the pros and cons of DTG printing & Screen printing?

Difference Between DTG and Screen Printing 

Difference B/w screen and DTG

The main highlight between screen printing and the DTG prating method is that screen printing uses a lengthy approach that includes pushing the stencil and mesh that contains the designs against the fabric to print the design over the material. On the other side, DTG printing is an advanced method of printing that uses a digital printer to apply the ink directly over the fabric or garment. These digital printers are like inkjet printers.

This change in printing approach is the main difference between screen printing and DTG printing.

What is DTG Printing?

Coming to DTG printing, DTG printing is an efficient method for printing accurate, full-colored, and detailed designs over the garment. The DTG printing method is suitable for handling illustrations, visual designs, photographs, typography, gradients etc.

You can easily print a small batch of clothes as it doesn’t require a machine. As a manufacturer, we have the latest and advanced machines and technologies that are in best in class to provide high-quality DTG prints over the fabric. In short, DTG printing is a good quality and environmentally friendly printing. Here are some samples of DTG printing.

The start-to-end process of DTG printing

Here is a step-by-step process of transferring the design over the fabric using the DTG printing method:

  • Preparation of the digital art files
  • Pre-Treatment and curing of the T-shirt
  • Printing the plan over the T-shirt
  • Curing the ink and letting the design cool

What is Screen printing?

Screen printing is another method of printing that results in vibrant and durable designs along with thick and solid print quality. The technique uses water-based ink, mesh screen and stencil to transfer the strategies to the fabric. For every color there is a need to setup a new screen to set up, which making this process costly, resource-intensive, and effort-intensive.

Custom Brand Apparel is well-versed in screen printing as well. Get in touch to discuss your project in detail.

The start-to-end process of DTG printing

Here is a step-by-step process of transferring the design over the fabric using the Screen printing method:

  • Creation of Design
  • Preparation of screen
  • Exposure of Emulsion
  • Creation of stencil
  • Preparing the sweatshirt, T-shirt for print
  • Using heat to press the stencil against the fabric to embed the design over the fabric
  • Curing the ink.

The Pros and Cons of DTG Printing and Screen Printing

Pros of DTG printing

  • No limitations on colors in printing. You can use whatever color you want.
  • Easy to handle highly complex designs with multicolor.
  • The best method to print typography, photographic and visually focused prints.
  • Cost-effective method for small batches.
  • Easy to customize the design
  • Natural color for design uses water-based colors that don’t affect the fabric quality.

Cons of DTG Printing

  • The colors are not as solid as compared to screen printing
  • Colors can fade after some time
  • Needs to care after washing
  • For large orders, it can be expensive
  • There is a limited or restricted design placement option in DTG printing.
  • It only works perfectly with 100% cotton T-shirts.

Pros of Screen printing

  • Cost-effective option for large batch printing
  • You can place the design wherever you want on the T-shirt.
  • The more excellent batch, the less expensive it gets for you
  • Super solid results of designs
  • Thick ink that embeds over the fabric.
  • You can work with special inks that include glow-in-the-dark, metallic, shiny and more.
  • Efficiently works with different kinds of fabric blends, including (polyester, cotton, sports jersey material, silk and more)

Cons of screen printing

  • Each color in the design needs a separate mesh screen to print
  • A more significant number of colors in your design leads the design to be costly
  • It can bear up to 05 to 06 colors at a time.
  • A costly printing method for small batches of clothes
  • The whole process of setting up the machine and equipment takes time and effort to set up.
  • Engages more labor that automatically increases its price of service

So, is DTG Printing Better than Screen Printing, or It’s The Other Way Around?

DTG better then Screen

So far, we have listed the pros and cons of both printing methods, and we can’t choose one printing method over the other. Custom screen printing  has its target audience while Direct to garment printing has its own. The questions “Which printing method is better, screen printing or DTG printing?” are open-ended.

Although there are a couple of factors that are based on the questions, and the answer depends on your needs, specifications of your clothing project. Here are some of the specifications or factors that you need to consider.

  • Depends on your budget

Of course, you can spend a fortune to get a couple of shirts or sweatshirts printed, so the question of which method suits your needs best depends on the budget. Screen printing is the proper method if you are on a tighter budget and want to print a large batch of clothes. For a small collection, you can choose DTG printing.

If you have a free hand on the budget and want a high-quality print that looks more vibrant, digital-to-garment printing is the proper method for larger batches.

  • Is your design complex or simple?

As you might have the basic idea that DTG printing has more excellent features of capturing designs, even the tiniest details in the design, DTG printing can catch and handle it well, so if your plan is complex, you can go with DTG printing. Or if your design is simple and you are looking for a durable clothing line for longer, then Screen printing is the right option for you.

  • How many colors does your design have?

The colors in the design matter a lot when it comes to choosing a printing method. If your design or artwork has more than five colors, you must go with DTG printing, as it uses an automatic printer to print the design over the fabric.

Or if your design has less than 05 colors, then screen printing can be a good option for you, but remember, the more significant number of colors = the more costly the single is going to be. As in screen printing, it needs a new mesh screen for every color.

  • What quantity you want to order?

If you’re a clothing brand and thinking of rolling out a new batch of custom clothing, then you’d probably be ordering a larger batch quantity, and then screen printing is the best option for you. The more amount, the less it would cost per piece. But you must keep in mind the design complexity and colors.

If you print a clothing line for your team jerseys, corporate event, fundraiser or any campaign with a lower batch quantity, then DTG printing is the right option.

Our Verdict: Best of luck with your custom printing

Custom printing

So far, we have covered many details about the never-ending battle between “DTG printing VS Screen printing.” We have covered its pros and cons and all the designs, quantities and other factors to help you know which printing method best suits the scenario. Considering the advantages and disadvantages of both screen printing and direct-to-garment printing or digital printing, we can say both of these printing methods are best in their class, and we are pretty sure that you won’t regret choosing either of them for your project while using being your custom T-shirt manufacturer.

Looking for all-over sublimation printing solutions? Visit here.

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Tom Brady
Tom Brady

Tom Brady is the weekly publisher of fashion blogs and articles. He is devoted to providing his readers with a fast-paced story, whether a blog or an article. What began as an undergraduate hobby of writing about the fashion industry has now become a top blog and full-time role for him. His interest is simple, anything that attracts readers about the fashion industry.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

Tom Brady is the weekly publisher of fashion blogs and articles. He is devoted to providing his readers with a fast-paced story, whether a blog or an article. What began as an undergraduate hobby of writing about the fashion industry has now become a top blog and full-time role for him. His interest is simple, anything that attracts readers about the fashion industry.